I wish I could say I have enough “geek cred” to have played all the versions of “Assassin’s Creed.” Alas I have not (but I’ve watched others play it for hours on end.) I came into this movie like Jon Snow—knowing nothing.
But really, a good film should be able to stand on its own and entertain people who may not be familiar with the novel, TV show, game or comic book it was based on.
The plot of Assassin’s Creed is appears both silly and muddled. You have this one apple which both a brotherhood of Assassins and the Templars are after.
Cal Lynch (Michael Fassbender) lives in the present. He is related to a 15th century assassin named Aguilar de Nerha and by virtue of that, he must get said apple and save a prince. He travels back and forth in time via this facility called the Animus. It gets confusing but at the same time, you don’t really want to wrack your brain too much trying to figure it out because there’s no pay off in it.
The best parts of the movie are when the hero is doing his parkour off medieval structures and he’s fighting off the bad guys with his blades, but it seems like the filmmakers prefer to focus on pseudo-serious plotlines and characters that don’t quite go anywhere. Any fun just gets sucked out.
There’s an interesting quote from the Jeremy Irons about the human race not really being able to handle freedom well and that several attempts have been made by the Templars using first religion, then politics, then consumerism to control humans, but now they have to resort to that one apple to rule them all.
I know this is supposed to be a bit dark, and Michael Fassbender, co-star Marion Cotillard and director Justin Kurzel were probably shooting their far more successful (at least with the critics) Macbeth at the same time or right after. But the grim vibe they took from Macbeth just didn’t here. It felt so pretentious.
Maybe they should have just taken a cue from the Resident Evil franchise. It focused on action and graphics and nifty visuals while not taking itself too seriously.
Fans may enjoy it but I have yet to hear enthusiastic feedback from game players.
‘Assassin’s Creed’ opens today, January 4.